Like most people involved with computer support, my first experience began when fixing PC’s for friends and family. Usually this resulted in payment with free beer, not bad when you where 17! Ten years later I still find myself fixing friends and family computers.
So here is quick guide to what I would install on a personal PC, maybe one you’ve formatted and re-installed Windows because it was running very slow. I say personal PC because AVG Anti-Virus Free version can’t legally be used in business without paying for the commercial version.
- Partition and format the drive into two. One for the Windows System and the other for files and documents. That way you can wipe Windows without losing your files.
- Install Windows XP and configure
- Install hardware drivers
- Install service packs if required (SP2 for full wireless capabilities)
- Run Windows updates, twice only
- Install Microsoft Office if required, other wise install free Open Office
- Run Office updates and enable office and window updates to download together
- Install Firefox, make sure you rename the shortcuts as “Internet” else they will hunt down IE and start using it again.
- Thunderbird for Email
- Install AVG Anti Virus and AVG Spyware - Free Versions
- Enable Firewall and Windows Updates (Set as download and install at shutdown only)
- Install 7zip for zip files and other compressed files, an excellent free alternative to WinRar and WinZip
- Install CrossLoop for remote support
- Install Foxit, lightweight alternative to bloated Adobe PDF Reader
- Install VCL Player, multimedia player for various audio and video formats
- Install iTunes if they have a iPod
- Install CCleaner and clean up the installation files left from windows updates
- Run Defrag
- Maybe install some type of free Online Backup Service
If the computer is for Family use, make sure you read Improving Windows XP for Families by Robin our Managing Director.
What software do you install on your friends and family PC’s?